I've decided that I need to set boundaries for myself when it comes to the Internet. (First off, let me say, no, this has nothing to do with me or my blog.) I do this because I've come to the conclusion that there are a lot of mean-spirited and downright cruel people lurking out there. Let me tell you why I think this.
You know how you can "like" pages on facebook? Well, I "liked" a few (I won't say which) and then would, of course, see their posts. I normally wouldn't ever read any of the comments left, or post one of my own because it just took too much time. Well, a few months ago, something kind of interested me. Something that I wanted to comment about. (Okay, I will say that this was for a clothing retailer and they were posting a picture of a shirt and the fact that it was on sale.) I clicked to do it and scrolled through the comments already left. Holy cow! I was totally shocked at how mean they were. I was totally unprepared for what I was reading. Some were directed at the page . They said things like they wouldn't even pay the sale price for the shirt. They said the shirt was hideous, etc. After comments like that, they started being directed at other commenter's. There was mocking and jeering and poking fun at others who had spelled something wrong. There was name calling and other petty bickering. It was just plain mean and it hurt my heart. I couldn't believe people could be so cruel to each other. And over something as silly as a shirt. I decided I shouldn't ever read comments again, but found myself morbidly interested in doing it. I wanted to know if every post was like that. So, I started reading comments on a regular basis. And guess what? The vast majority of posts had comments left like the first. It made me so very sad.
Last week, I was watching a YouTube video. I really enjoyed it and wanted to know what other people thought. Big mistake. The comments left were some of the most vicious and hateful things I've ever read. They were unreasonable and ridiculous. Mean and uncalled for. I was sad all over again.
I personally think the cloak of anonymity the Internet provides has killed civility. It's killed kindness. It's made it very easy for people to be jerks. And those who are, seem to love it. They seem to think that since they are most likely to never cross paths in real life with whomever they're interacting with, they're free to say whatever they like. There's no need to be civil to someone you'll never meet, right? I'd like to know why? When did people become so uncaring and decide that hurting the feelings of a stranger was fun? Whatever happened to: "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"? There's absolutely no need to stir up contention among strangers because all it does is make you look like a terrible person. I know my approach to this probably sounds a little naive, but I can't think of any other way to say this.
So, I've decided that since I can't stop the mean comments, I have to just distance myself from them. I've "unliked" the facebook pages so I won't see their posts and I've resolved to not read comments left in other forums. I know that some might say sticking my head in the sand and ignoring something doesn't make it go away. But I don't think that's what I'm doing. I know that not every comment is cruel and there's plenty of good out there, but I'm tired of continually coming across the cruel. I know what my limits are. I know what I can and can't handle. I don't like feeling bad after reading that kind of crap. There's no need to do that to myself. So, I'm not going to do it anymore. I'm just going to do my best to be kind in my own little corner of the world. It's really all I can, or should do.